Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Imperials - Not For Saledotdotdot
artworkThis reformation of a surf band from Monterey, California circa 1964 delivers a full set of traditional classic covers. They were/are heavily motivated by the Ventures and the Lively Ones. They are clearly at the nostalgia stage, but I'd guess they will move into new original material soon enough. The performance is solid, and the sense of the genre is clear. After all, they were there.
Picks: Wipe Out, Pipeline, Walk, Don't Run, Honky Tonk, Surf Rider, Mr. Moto, Misirlou, Bustin' Surfboards, Twisted, Endless Summer, Penetration, Surfers Stomp, Baja

Track by Track Review


Wipe Out dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Ventures-like rendition of the Surfaris classic - pretty tame. The immediacy necessary to carry this song, as well as the eccentric drumming of Ron Wilson just aren't there. That of course is what made this a frustrating song for thousands of bands... no way to replicate the Magical Wilson touch. Given the other tracks to choose from, I would have placed this near the end of the CD.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A dry Venturesish arrangement with a stiff glissando opening. The chord waves are quite tasty. It's a nice performance, pleasant listening. A far cry from the Chantays original, but the changes are simple and fresh.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Reverent and true to form.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A dry guitarization of the standard piano/sax hit.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bit of the Lively Ones, but a lot more of the Ventures original arrangement. Well done and solid.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slightly more surfy version of the Belairs classic. Competent and a good listen.

Misirlou dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low energy understatement. The delicate picking makes for different take all together, not Buddy Merrill, but definitely easy.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Reverent, pretty, and way better than the Tornadoes' BS97. It has taken on a Hawaiian shimmer without the edge of the original, which adds a more pretty lagoon ambiance to it. Quite nice.

Twisted dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A simple Ventures tune, competently delivered. I don't mean to understate. It's quite nice.

Endless Summer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing tones and a less jazzy delivery than the Sandals's soundtrack classic results in a very nice change. Gentle and flowing

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the Ventures figuring so prominently in the influence bag of the Imperials, I expected to hear the Ventures' arrangement, with those stupid accents at the end of each line, but alas I was saved. It's the Pyramids' original arrangement, solid, but more gently done. Nice.

Surfers Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Semi-jazzy version of the Joe Saraceno classic studio creation. Fortunately for all, the sappy horns were replaced by tasty guitar lines. Quite a nice change.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Solid and ringing. A mature and delicate delivery of an over covered tune. It is among the best tracks on the CD.